Practical Parenting Series

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Practical Parenting Series

Postby Leila » 17 Aug 2014, 21:23

Day 48: The Way of the Horse: Rhythmic Motion | Practical Parenting ... otion.html

I’ve decided to from now on throw in some ‘practical’ blogs in between my more ‘inner-process’ related blogs. After all, it’s easier to sit down to reflect on your process and yourself when your physical reality is relatively stable (eg. You’re not sleep deprived, your baby isn’t unnecessarily uncomfortable, your baby is in general not driving you insane).

Here I will share things that I’ve tried out and tested with Cesar which worked for us – and so may be of help for others.

So as the title suggests, the first practical point I want to share came from working with horses.

At the farm, we work with horses in close alignment with principles and methods of Natural Horsemanship. One of these points is that of ‘rhythmic motion’. Horses move within rhythmic motion, and through drawing on rhythmic motion ourselves, we are able to direct the horse. Besides using it as a form of communication, I also noticed that if my horse Charlie, was unsettles, was that rhythmic motion, sound and touch would settle him – from which I would be better able to direct him.

While this point of ‘rhythmic motion’ initially opened up with the horses, I have found that this point pretty much present with most animals, humans included.

When Cesar was very, very small – the only type of ‘rhythmic motion’ I would use, was that of me breathing. When he was upset, in pain or didn’t know what to do with himself, I would just hold him and breathe. I would first start of breathing normally and then slow down the pace – to which Cesar would then responding and get in sync. He didn’t breathe exactly in sync with me, because his lung capacity forces him to have to breathe more regularly than adults, but he would slow down proportionally with me. [As an FYI, according to some studies done on breathing with your child, the results show that breathing with your child in times of sickness helps accelerate healing]

Then, as he got older and a bit sturdier – I would start using my hands to make rhythmic motions and sounds (while all the while also just being aware of my breath, going with the rhythm).

I remember the one night he was up till 1-2 o’clock and just wouldn’t settle down, where the adrenaline that came with the teething had him going a bit nutty.

I then instinctively started using rhythmic motion on the mattress, tapping in a way to get a nice, low sound (he loves bassy sounds over high pitches) and finding the right rhythm. It’s quite interesting, because you’ll be playing with different speeds of tapping, and when you find ‘the one’, it’s like it just ‘catches’ them, and his whole being just settles down and centres. Then, I would keep tapping at that speed so he could really sink into the motion, and then slow down gradually. He was in crawling position on the mattress, and he his body sank down ever so slightly with each tap, until eventually he was lying down on his belly and then repositioned himself unto his side and then with the last tap just moved his head to a comfortable position.

Other variations I have done is where I am tapping him gently on his chest, or if he’s really ‘all over the place’ and not knowing what to do with himself, I would lay next to him on my side and put his legs in between mine so that I could ‘keep him in place’, which he initially would not like but after a few moments would then calm down and centre himself and then move himself to sleep with the tapping.

On other occasions, where the procedure was taking rather long or where I was already really tired when I started and my arm couldn’t hold much longer, I would utilize a metronome. When I was in music school we’d use a metronome which is a little gadget that you can use to set the ‘beats per minute’, where it either flashes a light or makes a sound (or both) so that it would assist in maintaining your rhythm/beats per minute. These days if you have a smartphone like an Android or iPhone – you can download a free metronome app and use your phone to do this. I would set it to x-amount of bpm (beats per minute), and would select a sound that Cesar responded to and would then once in a while set the amount of bpm lower and lower (while hiding it under my pillow).

This method is something I have found effective in times when Cesar overexerted himself (going overboard with standing/crawling or whatever – where he is not patient enough but straining his body) or was in a lot of pain where he would be in a state of ‘not knowing what to do with himself’, where the rhythmic motion gives him something to anchor to and direct his attention.

So when you’re all out of ideas, and your little one still won’t sleep = it’s worth a try!

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Re: Practical Parenting Series

Postby Bella » 22 Aug 2014, 14:42

awesome - thanks for sharing Leila! looking forward to more of this series, and i am not even a parent lol

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Re: Practical Parenting Series

Postby Leila » 10 Oct 2014, 22:05

Day 54: Walking in More than just your Own Shoes | Practical Parenting ... -your.html

In this blog I want to share a little ‘method’ I’ve been applying with Cesar which has been working out nicely.

I have to move around a lot during the day, going from room to room, going to different place – and everywhere I go: Cesar comes with me. Whenever we are in a space, Cesar will find something that he wants to explore or play with. When I am done with whatever I had to do in a particular space and have to move on to the next point – Cesar is usually ‘not done’ in that he is still busy exploring or playing with something.

At first, I would see that he is obviously enjoying himself or being intrigued by whatever new object he got his hands on – but within having to go, and only considering my schedule and ‘what I need to do next’; I would pick him up and remove him from what he was busy with or place back what he took and then pick him up – where he very often would let out a shriek of discontent; but where I figured that ‘he needs to just get over this’ as we can’t always do ‘what he wants to do’ and so would cringe a bit inside myself but move on to the next thing.

This pattern started happening more and more and I wasn’t satisfied with my own inner-experience as these scenarios would play out. The cringing-experience inside myself, to me indicated that somewhere I am compromising and missing a point – because if I were confident in my actions, then there would be no experience, as what I would be doing would simply be: common sense. But this cringing-experience kept coming up each time I would remove him and we’d move on, so I decided to slow down and zoom-in to what goes on in these play-outs.

So the one day, as I was in the bathroom with him and he found himself an empty shampoo bottle to play with – I was looking at what I was about to do, as picking him up and going back to our room and how it usually plays out. As I played it out for myself within myself, I saw that I was only ever taking my perspective into account, where I was only worried and concerned about ‘getting to everything’. I realised, that I had completely forgotten about Cesar and how he ‘fills up’ his day. I only ever looked at how my timeline was playing out and not looking at his!
There was this idea that, I, the grown up has specific plans, with a specific purpose and specific reasoning about these plans – where I saw Cesar, the baby, as kind of just being random in that there’s no particular direction or structure in his day, and so he can just ‘tag along’ because you know, he’s just kind of like ‘whatever’.

So what I saw then and there is that, even though he doesn’t have an organized way of going about his day or giving himself an overall structured direction – he does give himself direction in every moment, in his own way. Sure, his trip to the bathroom wasn’t planned and only occurred because I had to take a potty break – but him reaching for the empty shampoo bottle: that was a specific decision. Him touching, moving, throwing – interacting with the empty shampoo bottle in various ways: this was him directing himself, this was him being involved with something. And if I am stuck in my world where I am going ‘okay, done with this lets go on to the next thing’ and simply pick him up while he is participating with an object in this manner, then I am in fact interrupting his ‘purposed-plan’ as what he decided to do now and interact with.

So even though I have my world where certain things need to be done, Cesar also has his own world where he is doing things – it’s just not as apparent since it doesn’t conform to ‘adult logic’ but relates his experience and whatever way he in that moment/stage is exploring the world and developing his relationship with his environment and himself.

So in that moment where he is playing with the empty shampoo bottle, he is just as ‘purpose-driven’ as I am in wanting to get to the next room to get on to the next thing – just in a different form. I know I don’t like to suddenly be interrupted and ripped away from something I was giving my attention to and sharing my moment with, so why should I treat Cesar as such?

If I was busy reading a book and someone would just take it away all of a sudden – I’d also be like ‘Oi!! I was busy with that!!!’ So, that’s what Cesar’s doing when he is playing or exploring something. He goes totally into it, and for that moment, the only thing that exists is him and the object he is exploring/playing with.

So when I realised that I was actually being quite rude to interrupt him just like that and expect him to be okay with just ‘tagging along’ and expecting him to be able to ‘immediately let go’ of whatever he was doing – I changed my approach. Sometimes, if time allows it, we will stay a bit longer and I will let him play a bit longer with what he is doing or join in. Then, when it is time to go – I will tell him, and I also announce to him now every time that I am ‘going to pick you up now!’. Then, as I let him know, I will place my hands around his waist – but instead of then immediately picking him up – I will just leave my hands there for a moment and count to three inside myself or out loud. So that, when I announce to him what’s going to happen next, he knows there’s about to be a change, and then the moment I am placing my hands on his waists and leaving them for a moment: he has time to internally let go of what he is doing. Then when I pick him up, he has been able to process the change through space and time, instead of in one second being ‘ripped away’ from what he was doing.

I’ve found making this one adjustment in how I interact with him making a big difference in his demeanour, where before he was more frustrated and on edge and now is more flexible and easy going; which makes sense because he is now being considered, and in me slowing down and taking his experience and how he takes things in into account: our relationship is more balanced since I am treating him the way I’d like to be treated, and within that treating him as an equal instead of me role-playing as “adult” and treating him as a “baby”.

So this one point of in essence, ‘stretching things out’ where instead of just picking the baby up and going, where it is now divided and spread out into announcing, giving a moment, and then moving + making it a habit to not only look at my timeline but to basically in every moment that you’re with your child see things from yours and his perspective = adds up to a much better relationship between parent and child.

An EQAFE interview which gives perspective into this and other points is: Understanding Your Baby Within Sharing - Perfecting the Human Race - Parenting – Part 47

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Re: Practical Parenting Series

Postby Carrie » 11 Oct 2014, 03:39

Cool realizations Leila. And I like your approach of giving Caesar time to do what he sees as having purpose and how you give him notice when it's time to move on. Thanks for sharing.

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